AfDB Gives Kenya & Tanzania Ultimatum to Seal Ksh49 Billion Electricity Deal

Suluhu Ruto
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu (left) and President William Ruto.

Kenya and Tanzania have been issued with an ultimatum by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to complete a 507-kilometre power line. 

The line which transverses from Isinya, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania was supposed to be completed last month but has since stalled. 

AfDB which is financing the project (together with the Japanese International Co-operation Agency) to the tune of Ksh49 billion now wants the project to be completed. 

The line which once completed will transfer 2,000 megawatts of electricity has largely stalled due to bureaucracy and logistical challenges in the Kenyan part. 

A photo collage of power transmission lines.
A photo collage of power transmission lines.

Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO) which is mandated to construct the line on the Kenyan side has been unable to work on a compensation formula. 

As such, families where the power line is supposed to pass through have not been relocated making Kenya miss the December 2023 timeline. 

AfDB while speaking of the project noted that it was paramount that Kenya and Tanzania complete the project to alleviate power rations which have plagued the two countries. 

In April 2023, AfDB faulted KETRACO for its delay in compensating affected families Ksh64 million which was hindering the completion of the project that started in 2015.

KETRACO at the time cited a lack of funds as the reason for not compensating the families.

Once completed, it will be possible for East African countries to trade electricity and for each country to tap power from a common pool. 

Tanzania already imports electricity from Uganda (10 MW), Zambia (5 MW), and Kenya (1 MW).

On the other hand, in January 2023, Kenya started importing electricity from Ethiopia and by 2026, 400MW of the country’s energy source will come from Ethiopia. 

Additionally, Kenya and Uganda have a power purchase agreement dating over six decades with Kenya consuming surplus electricity from Uganda. 

A photo of engineers from KETRACO at work
A photo of employees from KETRACO at work